The James Shaw Family: A Hawaiian Musical Dynasty

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Dedicated readers of Harpguitars.net have seen many images and features over the years on Harp Guitars in Hawaiian Music. Well, that’s what this current one was supposed to have been…a quick week or so of work – done, fun, next!

Except…

A STORY dropped into my lap. One of those no one has ever heard anything about this and I have to write this stories you’ve seen me tackle dozens of times.

Except in this case, I was completely out of my element – so soon jumped into the deep end. 9 months of intense research so far, with no end in sight, but I finally just had to wrap it up… Yeah, what started out about harp guitars ended up being about so much more!

Often, all it takes is one individual. In this case, a descendant of someone famous but forgotten. With a famous family that I guarantee 99.9% of you have never heard of. Oh, and the descendant doesn’t just have a few cryptic tidbits for us – they have some 600 photographs, postcards, handbills and newspaper clippings. Not one career preserved in a time capsule estate trunk, but dozens. Need I mention that virtually none of these images have ever been seen or published until now? (I ended up using some 140 – plus many others from outside sources – for my 140-page, 3-part PDF article series.)

The individual’s name is Winifred Matteson. Tom Walsh introduced us. Les Cook, Kilin Reece and a few others soon pitched in. The story is far from over, and this first draft will need to be re-vamped once additional info/dates/clues/musician identifications come in (we need everyone’s help! Please send any information via private email [gregg AT harpguitars DOT net] rather than through blog comments).

Meanwhile, please enjoy the 3 multi-chapter article series, posted on the Harpguitars.net Players Page (where I also took the opportunity to collate all the Hawaiian harp guitar-playing musicians collected over these many years):

shaw-link

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